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Politics

How Labour won the argument

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By Matthew Paul

Even though Labour –according to Jeremy Corbyn– ‘won the argument’ last Thursday, the
Tories comprehensively won at the traditionally more important business of getting votes.
Simon Hart, Stephen Crabb and Jonathan Edwards all held their seats; the two
Conservatives enjoying comfortable majorities over Labour (though it was Hart, not Crabb,
who took Alun Cairns’ vacant job as Secretary of State for Wales).
Plaid Cymru, as predicted, had a pretty rotten night. They can take a little comfort from Ben
Lake’s solid win in Ceredigion, and from seeing their majorities creep up in Y Fro Gymraeg.
But the Party of Wales remains a party supported by only one in ten Welsh voters. Plaid
made no progress at all outside its core areas; indeed its share of the vote has (with a very
slight blip in 2015) been slowly on the slide for twenty years, from the 14.1% it won in the
2001 General Election, to 9.9% last Thursday. This is not a movement on the march.
Plaid’s aggressively anti-Brexit stance, and its ‘Unite to Remain’ alliance with wishy-washy
Britnat parties was a huge strategic error. Mistletoe-clad traditionalists in Y Fro know
perfectly well that the party is pro-EU and didn’t need reminding. Brexity boyos in the
valleys looking for an alternative to Labour found it a massive turn-off.
In Carmarthenshire West and South Pembrokeshire, Plaid’s vote share fell; Rhys Thomas
having failed to mention frequently enough that he’s a doctor and was in Afghanistan.
Jonathan Edwards will be spooked too. He lost half his majority in Carmarthen East &
Dinefwr, and the Conservatives smashed Labour into third place. With a bit of investment in
the constituency from CCHQ, there is every prospect of the Tories biting Jonathan on the
bum next time round.
While the doorstep in the Pembrokeshire constituencies had been showing solid support for
the Tories but no reason for complacency, over in Carmarthenshire it was apparent that the
Labour campaign had completely gone to bits. Labour Candidate Maria Carroll, though an
avid Corbynite, was for some reason unpersoned by her party and ordered to stay away
from Jezza’s big gig at Nantyci showground. The dear leader didn’t mention her or CE&D
once in his speech.
Rattled, Carroll put out a video in which she adopted the conciliatory tone of a dying gypsy
fortune-teller cursing the drunk driver who knocked her down: “your children and
grandchildren will SUFFER!” Even this inspirational message failed to turn things around.
Maria Carroll may have won the argument in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr; but only if the
argument centred on whether or not she would lose to both Plaid and the Tories, and get
the lowest vote in Carmarthenshire in the Labour Party’s entire history. To her credit, she
achieved both. She was fortunate not to face a credible challenge from the LibDems, or
Count Binface.
In receipt of this absolute shellacking from the electorate, many candidates would step
back, slightly abashed, and opt for a moment of quiet reflection. Not Maria. Erupting on
Twitter, she blamed every factor for her defeat except unpropitious astrological
convergences, her own incompetence, and Oh! Jeremy Corbyn. Broadly speaking, she

shared the view prevalent amongst members of the Corbyn cult; that the electorate got it
wrong.
Certainly, the analysis among Corbynites seems to be that it wasn’t the manifesto that got it
wrong; voters loved the classical socialist idea of taxing the rich until there aren’t any left,
then starting on the moderately well off. It definitely wasn’t the leader either; he is a good,
kind, honest, decent man who really cares for the poor. And, as we all know, there aren’t
any poor Jews. No, it was vile, billionaire-owned mainstream media like The New
Statesman, The Guardian and The Pembrokeshire Herald that brainwashed a majority of the
electorate into thinking Corbyn was an unpatriotic halfwit who surrounded himself with
commies, bomb-scatterers and anti-Semites. What made it worse was that they achieved
this by the sneaky, underhand trick of reporting things that Corbyn had said and done.
Carroll tweeted that she wants to see “an end to the abusive power of the media”, and even
expressed an aspiration to close the media down, so perhaps The Pembrokeshire Herald has
had a lucky break.
Maria Carroll wasn’t alone on Thursday night. The Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner, was
finally told that his forty-year long end of the pier show was being shut down. Labour were
turfed out of Sedgefield; once Tony Blair’s rock-solid stronghold. Redcar, Grimsby Fishdocks,
Satanic Mills East, and a host of other seats which have been Labour since the dawn of time
all voted with some enthusiasm for Boris and Brexit.
The strategy of forcing opposition parties to treat a first-past-the-post election as a
referendum on a subject about which they didn’t agree worked an absolute treat for the
Tories. Even so, a competently led Labour Party with a clearly defined position on Brexit
could have won. In one credible poll, 43% of Labour voters who switched sides said it was
leadership, not Brexit, that was their main concern.
For the time being, Corbyn remains at the helm of his stricken party, anxious to ensure that
whoever succeeds him is chosen on his terms and from his cult. Any Tory with £3 in his
pocket would do well to sign up to Labour now, for the unmissable opportunity of helping to
elect Richard Burgon or Rebecca Long-Bailey as the Lenin-capped loon’s successor.
Entertaining as it may be to watch the Labour Party disintegrate, the Tories can allow
themselves only a short gloat. Reality will start to bite soon, when they get stuck into what
may not be the entirely effortless task of Getting Brexit Done.

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Politics

Important information arriving ahead of elections

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IMPORTANT information about the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May will be landing on all Pembrokeshire doormats this week.

Both the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections will be held on Thursday, May 6.

The letters will ensure electoral records are correct, detail how to add/change any entries and urge those who are not registered to do so before the deadline of midnight, Monday 19th April.

Please read the letter and check the details are up to date and only contact the Council if necessary.

You can register to vote at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

For the first time, those who will be aged 16 or over on 6th May and are registered to vote can vote in the Senedd elections.

Foreign citizens who will be aged 16 or over on 6th May and are registered to vote can also take part in the Senedd elections.

For the Police and Crime Commissioner elections those aged 18 and over on 6th May who are registered to vote can cast their vote.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may wish to consider your voting options.

Polling stations will be open and will have undergone extensive preparations as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure that they are safe environments to cast your vote.

However, it is likely that more people than ever will wish to take up an option for a postal vote for the elections on 6th May.

Given the anticipated demand, please apply for a postal vote as early as possible to allow the Council’s elections team plenty of time to be able to process your application.

You can apply for a postal vote or proxy vote (someone you trust to cast your vote on your behalf) at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter

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News

MS summoned to Court over tweet

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PLAID CYMRU’s Mid & West Wales Regional Senedd Member Helen Mary Jones has been summoned to appear at Swansea Crown Court.

HHJ Paul Thomas QC ordered Ms Jones to court after she retweeted a third-party’s post which expressed the hope a defendant in an ongoing murder trial would be convicted.

The tweet referred to the trial of 70-year-old Anthony Williams, who killed his wife shortly after the start of the first lockdown in March last year.

Mr Williams had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

However, while the trial was ongoing, a domestic violence campaigner tweeted:: “Another perp using the ‘I just snapped’. It is complete b******t! As so many of us will know, there would have been history of domestic abuse.
“I hope this jury finds him guilty of murder. Rest in peace, Ruth.”
On Saturday, before the jury returned its verdict, Ms Jones shared the tweet.

There was no history of domestic abuse and no suggestion of it was raised during Mr Jones’ trial.

When the Jury returned to Court on Monday, HHJ Paul Thomas said: “It’s come to my attention that, over the weekend, there have been some highly inappropriate comments made on social media about this case.
“I should make it abundantly clear that those comments have not come from anybody connected with the case and, having been shown the contents of one such piece of social media, they clearly don’t have any idea about the evidence in this case or the issues in this case.”
None of the jurors saw the offending post and continued their deliberations.

On Monday afternoon, the jury acquitted Mr Williams of murder.

By retweeting the remarks made by a third party, the risk existed that the jury could have been influenced and their decision-making compromised.

On Thursday, Helen Mary Jones will have the chance to explain her actions to Judge Thomas in person.

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News

UKIP politicians vow to overturn new smacking ban in Wales

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UKIP Wales has announced that it is committed to repealing the Welsh Government’s controversial ‘Smacking Ban’ ahead of the Senedd Elections, and that this will become part of its manifesto in Wales.

The ban on reasonable chastisement was introduced in January 2020 by Labour’s Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan. The legislation removes the defence of “reasonable punishment” in cases of common assault.

UKIP Leader and Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales, Neil Hamilton, said: “Parents know what is best for their children, not politicians. Members of the Senedd need to get a foot in the real world, outside the Cardiff Bay Bubble and listen to the public.

“[The ban] received huge criticism when it was railroaded through the Senedd against public opinion. When consulted, up to 75% of parents in Wales opposed the restrictions that prohibited them from reasonably disciplining their children.

“The policy is practically impossible to enforce and is estimated to cost the taxpayer £8 million. It is another example of the Cardiff Bay politicians overextending themselves and forcing their own virtue-signalling morality on to the people of Wales.

“Senedd politicians from all parties have forgotten they are not the boss – the public are. As Members of the Senedd, their job is to represent their constituents not police how parents bring up their children.

“The Government must do everything possible to protect children from physical and psychological abuse. But this legislation has done, and will continue to do, nothing to stop cases of serious abuse. Instead, it penalises parents who take reasonable steps to discipline their children.

“In this year’s Senedd Elections, UKIP is standing up for parents to raise their children free from interference from an overarching, self-righteous political class in Cardiff.”

Pembrokeshire-based UKIP councillor Paul Dowson said: “In my opinion this is plain and simple common sense. It has cost the taxpayer 8 million pounds for a bill which is simply unenforceable.

“This over-woke labour Welsh government made up of out of touch ministers have no right to tell the public how to discipline their children.

“The latest generation have recently gone through the education system where there are no serious consequences for bad behaviour, the parents have been restricted regarding punishing bad behaviour, and the curriculum promotes 99 different genders along with a whole host of other WOKE topics above common sense and basic respect.
“Our future begins with our children and we need to be allowed to discipline our kids in a way which we see fit even if it does include a smack on the ass when required.

“The sooner we regain control of society the better.

“No better place to start than with bringing our children up properly instead of following the Drakeford formula. His own son is a prime example of poor parenting.”

Cllrs Dowson’s view is at odds with the NSPCC. The children’s protection charity said in a press release: “This is a remarkable achievement which closes an outdated loophole and finally gives children in Wales the same legal protection from assault as adults.”

Conservative AM Ms Finch-Saunders said: “With this bill the state is now stepping into the private lives of families”.

She added: “Through the involvement of the police and social services… this smacking ban this will potentially have far reaching consequences for us all.”

Julie Morgan, Deputy Social Services Minister, said it was a “historic day” after members passed the law with 36 votes for, 14 against.

Ms Morgan had campaigned for years for a ban and had broken the Labour whip over the issue when the Welsh Government did not support it, in 2015.

She said at a press conference after the vote: “This is not about the government telling parents how to raise their children or about criminalising loving parents,”

She added the government had listened to the “vocal minority” who opposed the move, but that removing the defence of reasonable punishment “is the right thing to do”.

“The children of Wales now have the same protection as adults in Wales have.”

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